Evgenia Soboleva
Courtesy of: OSports-USA TODAY Sports
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BARCELONA, Spain, July 23. THE locals definitely were unhappy leaving today's women's water polo preliminary rounds as Spain suffered an emotional loss to Russia at the Picornell Pool at the FINA World Championships.

Spain continues to be at the losing end of the equation when facing Russia. The hosts fell to Russia at the 2011 championships in Shanghai 18-8, and also just lost to the team a few weeks ago at the FINA World League competition by a tally of 10-8. Today, Spain nearly got over the hump but lost 7-6 in front of a raucous home crowd.

"The Russian players know us very well and they have a very close defense," said Spain's team captain Jennifer Pareja after the game.

Plenty other jaw-dropping performances occurred in the other preliminary events. The Netherlands peppered Uzbekistan's goal early, often and with regularity in a 30-3 drubbing. Lieke Klaassen collected six goals, while six total players connected with hat tricks. Meanwhile, Hungary upset European champs Italy (10-4), while Australia dumped China (14-5). China is the reigning FINA World League champions, and the early loss is surprising.

Meanwhile, New Zealand clocked South Africa (13-7), Greece downed Great Britain (13-7), USA clipped Canada (10-8) and Kazakhstan beat Brazil (9-5).

Results: FINA World Championships, Water Polo: Day Three